script> Africa Moto: The Ultimate Travel Guide to Victoria Falls

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Victoria Falls


Are you daydreaming about escaping the cold winter weather for warmer climates? Sure you are.

Then put the majestic Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe on the top of your getaway list. I shared the highlights of my family's road trip to the falls here. Victoria Falls is at the top of my mind right now as I am planning my family's summer vacation. Did I mention that I'm going home {Zimbabwe} this summer!

The Victoria Falls known locally as Mosi-Oa-Tunya which means "the smoke that thunders". Boy does it thunder especially during the rainy season. This amazing geographic sight is located on the Zambezi river, straddling the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world and the world's largest stretch of uninterrupted falling water.

“Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by Angels in their flight” said David Livingstone when he first saw the falls. The beauty of the Falls have since captivated many more visitors. Victoria Falls is actually made up of a series of waterfalls, four of which are on the Zimbabwe side (Devils’s Cataract, Main Falls, Rainbow Falls and Horseshoe Falls) and one on the Zambia side (The Eastern Cataract).



WHERE TO STAY

Victoria Falls Hotel




The Victoria Falls Hotel is an institution and the grand dame of the Victoria Falls. This elegant luxury colonial-style hotel is steeped in history and charm. Built in 1904,  it's one of the original hotels of the Victoria Falls. It was recently renovated to modern times while maintaining its original charm. 

It's is perfectly located overlooking the Victoria Falls Bridge and within walking distance from the falls.There are 160 rooms and suites at the hotel. Facilities include two tennis courts, library, reading room and large swimming pool. If you can't stay here, at least enjoy the famed afternoon high tea on Stanley's Terrace with the backdrop of the Falls.

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge





The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge is sustainable and eco-friendly lodge. It has bright interiors that nicely blend African design with contemporary luxury. Exteriors are modern African architecture with thatched roofs. The lodge is set on a high natural plateau. 

The hotel's 72 en-suite rooms have private balconies where guests can enjoy exquisite views of herds of elephants, warthog and kudu frolicking at the watering hole. Facilities include Makuwa-Kuwa restaurant, the Buffalo Bar, pool deck and the "The Boma" restaurant.

The Elephant Camp 




The Elephant Camp is a boutique luxury tented camp with breathtaking views of the Victoria Falls spray. Overlooking a watering hole in a private game concession, this is a lovely glamping site. 

Made up of only 12 exclusive tented suites decorated with contemporary decor and fused with traditional African accentsEach tented suite comes with its own private plunge pool and an awesome bath with a view. The private reserve is also where you can take an Elephant Safari.

Ilala Lodge




Conveniently located within walking distance of the Victoria Falls National Park and the Victoria Falls town center. This family owned hotel has high thatched roofs and budget friendly rooms. You can relax at the pool or the outdoor terrace.

Check out the Palm Restaurant a favorite for lunch offering such specialties like peri-peri prawns and crocodile kebabs. 

Ilala Lodge recently revealed its expansion plans.


WHAT TO DO AND SEE

You will be spoiled for choice for what to do at Victoria Falls, from adrenaline fueled activities to relaxing and romantic activities. 

Visit the Victoria Falls Rainforest Park

Walk through the winding paths of the rain forest and enjoy the flora and fauna. Stop at the several lookout points along the gorge edge to get mesmerized by the beauty of the falls. Expect to get very wet so carry a umbrella or raincoat. You can easily view the falls from both the Zimbabwe and Zambian side and you now only need one visa.

Whitewater Rafting

Victoria Falls is a dream for adventure seekers. It's also the adventure capital of Africa. Whitewater rafting through the extreme rapids of the mighty Zambezi River is one of the most popular activities at the falls. Check out Shearwater Victoria Falls to book your adventure activities.


Helicopter Flight of Angels 

One way to see the falls is with the Flight of Angels. Enjoy an amazing helicopter flight over the falls and see the best view on earth from the sky. 

Elephant Safari


Explore the African bush on an elephant back safari. My sister in-law took one when she visited Zimbabwe for the first time last summer.

Bungee Jumping

Located on the Victoria Falls Bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe, you can launch yourself over the gorge head first 111m below to the crocodile infested waters. I guess it's one of those bucket list things for the brave. Check out Victoria Falls Bungee to book your jump.


Zambezi River Cruise



A personal favorite of mine. Take a relaxed sunset cruise upstream on the Zambezi river while you sip on a cocktail and watch hippos in the water and elephants on the banks. The luxury solar powered Zambezi Explorer is new to the scene but definitely worth checking out.


WHERE TO EAT



MaKuwa-Kuwa Restaurant



Located in the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Makuwa-Kuwa has won top restaurant in Zimbabwe for many years. The restaurant overlooks the watering hole which is frequented by wildlife. The international a la carte menu fused with local flare. Selections include kudu fillets and smoked crocodile and a wide wine selection of South African wines.


Boma Place of Eating Restaurant

The Boma is an unique and exciting dining experience. It can a be a bit touristy but don't let that deter you, it part of the fun. The buffet menu has a large selection of local and international cuisines. Local highlights include sadza (cooked corn meal, the national staple), buffalo curry, smoked crocodile, Zambezi bream and mopane worms. Try the mopane worms, a local delicacy - insect protein is a big food trend right now.

Enjoy live performances by the Amakwezi traditional dancers and join in the drumming and dancing. Be sure to make a reservation early to avoid disappointment. 

Mama Afrika Eating House

Mama Africa Eating House intimate restaurant that offers unique, traditional cuisines from all over Africa. You will be entertained by a live jazz band  while you eat. Great food and service. We ate here the last time we were in Victoria Falls.



SHOPPING in VICTORIA FALLS

Elephant's Walk Shopping and Artist Village




This family owned shopping and cultural village is made up of small and charming boutiques and galleries focused on local creatives. Here you'll find high-quality and interesting textiles, jewelry and artwork from around Africa. Check out jewelry from Ndau Collection. Bookmarked for my next visit.

Mukuni Village Craft Market

Check out all the bustling traditional open-air craft market to find stone Shona sculpture, wood souvenirs and novelty items from local artisans. Located just across the street from the entrance of the Falls. Expect to haggle.


What to Wear in Victoria Falls





          ..........................................................................................
1. Petit Bateau Oilskin Raincoat / 2. Melissa Odabash Sumatra Zipped Bandeau Bikini / 3. Vismaya Silk Printed Bandana Scarf / 4.  Rag & Bone Buckley Destroyed Denim Jean / 5.  Chanel Sunglasses / 6. TIBI Draped Georgette Maxi Dress / 7. Zella Leggings  / 8. Rag & Bone Floppy Brim Fedora / 9. Velvet by Graham & Spencer  Tank Top  / 10.  Longchamp Le Pliage Handbag / 11. Ancient Greek Sandals / 12. Chaco Greer MJ 


Here are some other travel tips 

Bring your Camera: the Falls are amazing and make for incredible photo opportunities. Be careful not to get your camera/phone wet.

Currency: US Dollars

Insect Repellent: bring a small bottle of insect repellent that contains at least 25% DEET.

High SPF Sunscreen: SPF 50+ is a good idea even for people of color.

Waterproof bag: to cover your camera from the light shower that is the Falls.

Malaria: take your malaria prophylaxis, Victoria Falls is a malaria area. Malarone is my preferred anti-malaria pills.

How to get there: You can fly into Victoria Falls Airport. Currently South African Airways, British Airways, Fly Africa, Air Zimbabwe, Air Namibia and Air Botswana fly into Victoria Falls Airport. In mid 2015, the new and expanded airport should be complete. 

Travel Resource: Zimbabwe (Bradt Travel Guide)

Resolve to travel this year or at least wander virtually.

{Images: Flickr, Ilala Lodge, The Victoria Falls Hotel, The Elephant Camp, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Elephant Walk, Zambezi Explorer}

5 comments :

  1. Thank you Shingayi on a great write up on Vic Falls and in particular, Elephant's Walk Shopping and Artist Village. Please let us know when you are next in town and come and enjoy some Zimbabwean coffee and cake of the day at Africa Cafe - on us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coffee and cake at the Africa Cafe in the Victoria Falls, sounds good to me. I might just take you up on that. Thanks for stopping by!

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